Story: DAVID WILKINS
MERCEDES isn’t letting on too much about what the next S-Class will look like but it has been talking about some of the advanced systems that will go into the new car. A big arsenal of safety and comfort features, which Mercedes describes collectively as “Intelligent Drive”, should make the next-generation S-Class, due to be unveiled next year, an attractive option for wealthier company car choosers.
Among the systems that will be fitted either as standard or as options are:
- Distronic Plus with Steering Assist, a system that helps a driver to guide the S-Class within its lane and to follow the vehicle in front in slow-moving traffic automatically.
- Brake Assist system BAS Plus with Cross-Traffic Assist, which is is able to detect traffic or pedestrians approaching from the side and boost the braking power applied by the driver accordingly.
- Pre-Safe Brake, which can detect pedestrians and brake the car autonomously to avoid a collision at speeds up to 50 km/h (about 30 mph).
- Pre-Safe Plus, which can recognise an impending rear-end collision and trigger occupant protection measures in response. It can also apply the stationary vehicle’s brakes in the event of a rear-end collision in order to prevent a secondary impact.
- Active Lane Keeping Assist, which is able to detect oncoming traffic and prevent the S-Class from leaving its lane by applying the brakes on one side of the car.
- Adaptive Highbeam Assist Plus, which allows the S-Class’ headlights to be kept on full beam without dazzling other drivers by masking out vehicles within range of the beams’ cone of light.
- Night View Assist Plus, which can alert a driver to the danger posed by pedestrians or animals in unlit areas in front of the car by switching the speedometer display to a night view image and highlighting the hazard. A spotlight function is also able to flash at any pedestrians detected.
- Attention Assist, a drowsiness warning system.
One other advance – the next S-Class will be the first car not to be fitted with any conventional light-bulbs. All of the car’s internal and external lighting is provided by LEDs that are expected to last the life of the car.
While some of these systems might seem a remote prospect for mainstream company car drivers, the S-Class, as Mercedes’ flagship model, often pioneers new technologies that then rapidly spread to other cars made by Mercedes or other manufacturers.
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